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Chaturanga Dandasana, or four-limbed staff pose, is an element of the tradition sun salutation series and is a popular move in power yoga classes because it builds strength in the abdomen as well as the shoulders. Chaturanga is the down part of a push-up. Start in plank pose and lower your torso to a few inches above the floor and hold yourself there from 10 to 30 seconds. If you are in the middle of a sun salutation, you will flow from chaturanga to upward-facing dog.
Focus on drawing the abdomen in while holding chaturanga, and keep your tailbone tucked in and your leg muscles active to keep the lower back from dipping towards the floor.
If you are new to yoga, or new to chaturanga, a beginner variation is colloquially known as “knees down, chest down.” Start in plank pose, then lower your knees to the floor and lower your chest to about an inch above the floor. This movement will help you build strength until your arms, back, and legs are strong enough for you to hold the chaturanga position.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|